Monday, August 01, 2005

Privacy Rights in Smuggle-Tunnels?

The Seattle Times reports that the Patriot Act was used to help catch Canadian drug thugs:

As drug smugglers carried hundreds of pounds of marijuana through a tunnel from Canada to the U.S. last month, federal officials heard every word and watched nearly every movement with state-of-the-art surveillance.

Investigators were able to surreptitiously install video and audio bugging devices in the tunnel after receiving a judge's approval to search the passage under a controversial provision of the USA Patriot Act.

By obtaining a so-called "sneak-and-peek" warrant, law-enforcement officials were able to enter the tunnel, and bug it, without immediately telling the suspects a warrant had been issued. Regular search warrants require that the subject of a search be notified immediately after it has been conducted...

Under a sneak-and-peek warrant, also known as a delayed-notice search warrant, a judge authorizes police to search a suspect's property without leaving any trace they were there. [Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Whalley] said investigators arrange the timeline of the delay with a judge and most often notify suspects within 30 days...

When authorities announced the discovery of the tunnel in mid-July, federal officials said their concern was not only drug smuggling but the possibility it could be used to transport terrorists or smuggle weapons.

Of course nobody bothers to ask why smugglers should have any expectation of privacy in an illegal cross-border smuggle-tunnel.

The Fourth Amendment, which governs government searches, seizures, and warrants begins:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...
Can anyone find "illegal cross-border smuggle-tunnel" in there?

Observant Ovation to Orbusmax.

1 comment:

Lady Jane said...

No, I can't say that I can see "illegal-cross border smuggle-tunnel" in the Fourth Amendment.